Before we left Bangkok, our friend, Rohan (the groom) warned us that it was a little chilly in Vietnam so that we should make sure to pack some warmer clothes. Hearing this I have to say, I could hardly believe a South-East Asian country really could be chilly enough to need warm clothes? So I went ahead and packed an impressively light suitcase for someone like me, I was proud.
Fun fact: Bangkok airport, Suvarnabhumi, has been one of the top ten places most instagrammed for a couple of years now!
We landed in Hanoi just before lunch and arrived at the hotel where we were meeting Rohan’s family at the hotel just in time for lunch. Tom had much to catch up with Rohan and his family, as he has literally known them since birth. Their mothers had met over twenty-six years ago in the maternal ward in London, England where they became friends. So from birth, Tom and Rohan had been instant friends.
After lunch, we wasted no time to explore Hanoi and had made a bee-line for a mystical looking pagoda opposite the restaurant that we were at. It was our first glimpse of Vietnam and we were already in love.
Time was of the essence, so we headed back to the hotel to catch our bus to Thai Binh City, a province outside of Hanoi where the wedding was being held. During the bus ride was when it really hit me that for the first time that I had managed to pack light, I was going to suffer for this as I was clearly under-packed. I thought back, Rohan wasn’t kidding when he said it was chilly.
We all crashed when we got to our hotel in Thai Binh City as we were all exhausted. Plus, we had to be fresh faced for the next day’s ceremony where we were all going to meet the bride and her family for the first time!
Rohan and the groomsmen.
Rohan and his beautiful bride, Nhung.
We arrived sleepily at Nhung’s (the bride) house where I instant snapped out of my grogginess when we were greeted with the smiling faces of the people at Nhung’s neighbourhood and the beautiful, vibrant colours of the decorations they had put up for the wedding.
Although they didn’t speak English and none of us spoke Vietnamese, that didn’t stop us from trying (and successfully at times!) to make new friends and communicate with each other. It was a truly lovely and heart warming atmosphere.
Everyone was there. From the eldest members of Nhung’s family to the youngest, her friends and her neighbours. They had a two-day wedding ceremony where we were all talking, eating, singing and dancing together. Age didn’t matter and the language barrier was non-existent.
I was deeply moved by the love Rohan and Nhung so clearly have for each other. The ceremonies they had also showed that they also had that love from both their families and friends.
Rohan and Nhung on their wedding shoot in which we tagged along!
And of course, it wouldn’t be us if we didn’t get in some photos of ourselves as well!
It was an extremely short trip, 2 nights – 3 days, but undoubtedly an unforgettable one. Photography by Nün Visitsak & Tom Shigeru Stannard (@tomshigeru)